A Life in Politics, Print, and Power
By James Mcgrath Morris
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780060798697, 576pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
List Price: $29.99*
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Like Alfred Nobel, Joseph Pulitzer is better known today for the prize that bears his name than for his contribution to history. Yet, in nineteenth-century industrial America, while Carnegie provided the steel, Rockefeller the oil, Morgan the money, and Vanderbilt the railroads, Pulitzer ushered in the modern mass media.
James McGrath Morris traces the epic story of this Jewish Hungarian immigrant's rise through American politics and into journalism where he accumulated immense power and wealth, only to fall blind and become a lonely, tormented recluse wandering the globe. But not before Pulitzer transformed American journalism into a medium of mass consumption and immense influence. As the first media baron to recognize the vast social changes of the industrial revolution, he harnessed all the converging elements of entertainment, technology, business, and demographics, and made the newspaper an essential feature of urban life. Pulitzer used his influence to advance a progressive political agenda and his power to fight those who opposed him. The course he followed led him to battle Theodore Roosevelt who, when President, tried to send Pulitzer to prison. The grueling legal battles Pulitzer endured for freedom of the press changed the landscape of American newspapers and politics.
Based on years of research and newly discovered documents, Pulitzer is a classic, magisterial biography and a gripping portrait of an American icon.
James McGrath Morris is the author of The Rose Man of Sing Sing, selected as a Washington Post Best Book of 2004. He is the editor of the monthly Biographer's Craft, and his writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Observer, and other newspapers and magazines.